After rain washed off their opening match against arch-rivals Pakistan, seven-time winners India will meet Nepal in the next game in the Asia Cup 2023 hoping to solve the riddles thrown by the first match.
Skipper Rohit Sharma will be hoping for a better performance from his top order and middle-order barring Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya as they take on Nepal for the first time at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
However, the weather report doesn’t look good as it shows an 80% chance of precipitation on Monday, which means there are chances of this match being washed off too.
If Monday’s fixture also gets washed out, India will join archrival Pakistan in the Super 4 stage finishing second on the table.
Nepal, playing the Asia Cup for the first time, will not want the game to be washed out as it could be their biggest match. A few months back in the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, Nepal faced off against India A side and suffered a thumping loss. Nepal suffered a similar loss against Pakistan in their first match in the Asia Cup in Multan.
There were some positives for Nepal in their debut match, Like the way Karan KC and Sompal Kami bowled brilliantly and with a disciplined line in the Power-play and gave an early shock. Skipper Rohit Paudel was brilliant in the field and made a direct hit at the non-striker’s end to send Imam-Ul-Haq back to the pavilion. They were sloppy too in the field.
However, they can’t afford such bungling errors against the Indian team that is back with their full strength.
Rohit Sharma’s team suffered a setback on Sunday when Jasprit Bumrah flew back home for personal reasons and will miss Monday’s match. Still, the Indian bowling will be strong with Mohammad Shami likely to replace him.
Shreyas Iyer looked expressive with the bat and played some elegant shots before he was beaten by the Haris Rauf pace. Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan in the middle made a vital partnership.
India’s Kuldeep Yadav and Nepal’s Lalit Rajbanshi will also be seen in the action. Kuldeep, since his return to the Indian squad in January, has registered himself as a premier bowler in the format.
Lalit bowls with the variation and has been in the shadow of Sandeep Lamichhanem mostly. In the match where Pakistan scored a mountain of runs, he gave away only 48 from his ten overs.